Cloudy skies greeted 14 visitors, including 8 children and 6 adults (not including an infant and a small child), from the 2nd Strathroy Girl Guides for Exploring the Stars at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Wednesday, March 30th, 2016, 6:30 p.m. Graduate student Laura Lenkic presented the digital slide presentation “Girl Guide Astronomy Badge” (title slide “The Basics”) and fielded questions. Laura followed this with the activity “Telescope Kits”, with the children assembling simple telescopes from small reusable kits.
RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark, Paul Kerans and Bob Duff. Everett made ready the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome and, together with Paul, set up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X) on the roof patio outside the dome. When everybody arrived upstairs in the dome, Bob gave a talk on the history of the Cronyn Observatory and some of the technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor, using his green laser pointer to indicate the 25.4cm objective lens and finderscopes. Bob used his green laser pointer to show them the Cassegrain reflector and Schmidt camera piggy-backed on the 25.4cm refractor and explained how a reflector telescope worked. Bob also explained the Standard and Sidereal Time clocks on the east wall.
Since cloudy skies ruled out celestial observing, Laura supervised from the top of the observing ladder as visitors climbed the steps to view of the lights on the communications tower in south London through the big 25.4cm refractor (28mm Meade Super Wide Angle eyepiece, 157X). On the roof patio Bob showed visitors the wind turbine on the roof of the Engineering building through the 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X). Inside the dome, Paul showed visitors his iron / nickel meteorite and samples of Moon and Mars meteorites in small display cases. The visitors were gone by around 8:20 p.m. after a very enjoyable evening learning about astronomy and telescopes, despite the cloudy sky.